For most people ‘turning the other cheek’ would be easier for a physical attack than an emotional or verbal one. It is a natural human instinct to retaliate, to defend ourselves, to justify our decisions. We know that unity is a necessity for following Christ- we are to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit” (Eph 4:3). Yet, when someone brings an accusation against us that strikes too close to home – they accuse our personal work, our ministry, our families – we leap to arms to defend our decisions.
We just celebrated Easter, and I see something fascinating in Jesus’ actions before he went to the cross. As He is accused He is ‘silent’ (Mark 14:61). As He is beaten, He says not a word. As He is mocked, He gives no response. I think there is something for us to learn in all of this.
He bowed his head, He listened, and “he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed” (Mat 27:14). Why? Because Jesus is the ‘Prince of Peace’ (Isa 9:6) and conflict requires two sides.There’s a time to fight, but here’s the bottom line – the easiest way to avoid conflict is usually to shut your mouth. To give no response. To listen.
We look to our Saviour the one of whom it was written, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth” (Isa 53:7). The accusations against Jesus were false, unjustified and from men whose wicked hearts He could clearly see. We would do well to follow His example of humility.
Silent, cheek turned, we experience perhaps the most practical example of having a crucified self, as we look to Saviour’s model of humility. Pray today for the strength to hold your tongue when offended.